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September 30th, 2009
01:23 PM ET

Working To Abolish The "N Word"

In Wednesday's 2pm eastern hour, Don Lemon, filling in for Kyra Phillips, interviewed Jonathan McCoy.

He's an 11-year-old whose impassioned and astute speech calling for the abolishment of the "n word" has gone viral on YouTube.

He's also set up an online petition to ban the word.

soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Marsha

    The "n" word has been taboo in public for a long time. We cannot ban people's thoughts... yet, and that is where the word originates.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  2. alex lyrics

    we need to move on

    September 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  3. BCFlash

    I agree the "n" word is not flattering, but it IS a part of American history. When we start abolishing history based on our personal beliefs, then we might as well condone censorship as a permissible way of life. As the saying goes, "Once the bell is rung, you can't un-ring it."

    September 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Bill Hiniker

    Terrific and impressive young man makes a great point. Hate the word and its use in popular culture or private conversation.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  5. Joan

    Wow, this young man is amazing! What an eloquent, composed speaker. His interview on CNN just now blew me away. I esp. like the "do you want to see my birth certificate" bit! What a hoot! Jonathan McCoy is definitely going places.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  6. Peggy Delaney

    I just watched Jonathan on your show. What an incredible young man. He is an inspiration not just to African Americans but to all Americans.
    I will be happy to sign your petition Jonathan. Peggy Delaney

    September 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Peg kernan

    His parents should be so proud!!! What a great kid.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  8. Gail

    What a bright, inspiring young man that was just on. His parents must be so proud of him. If the classrooms were full of children such as this, this country would be in great hands with a great future.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  9. Sue Wedde

    Wow! Out of the mouths of babes! We all need to listen to this young man, as I certainly agree, that every time I hear that "n" word, it grates me the wrong way. I live and grew up in the south. I have always hated hearing the 'n' word, no matter whose mouth it came out of; Anglos, African Americans, or anyone else's mouth.

    Go Jonathan, as you are a role model to us all; young and old. Who knows; maybe this young man will grow up one day and lead this great country. We need many more thinkers like him, who think in this manner, to question what is WRONG!!!!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  10. don

    Outstanding young man. "Out of the mouth of babes". Who knows, may be a future president. Great story

    September 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Suzie

    Wow...what a bright articulate little boy. I can't believe he's only 11yrs old!!!! He will have a bright future. I agree with him. Sometimes I'm listening to a song that sounds good (the beat) but I get tired of hearing the "N" word (and other not so nice words) over and over in the song. What's the point? It turns me off to the music and it desensitizes people to the word and with certain words, we don't need to be desensitized, as they are still offensive to the majority. Good luck Johnathan.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  12. A College Student

    I find it cute that a 11 year old wants the "N" word abolished but lets be real with our selves the only reason anyone is paying him a bit of attention is because he is an 11 year old cute little boy. And I do apologize but dear the "N" word is not going any where as long as we have freedom of speech. And unless you are fighting to limit freedoms there is nothing you can do. You can stop now you have made your mommy proud.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  13. Richard N.

    What an outstanding, intelligent young boy and what a role model for the youth of today.

    How proud his parents must be of him.

    As for all of those in the entertainment industry who use and perpetuate the disreputable "N" word (actors, actresses, rap singers,exectutives, producers, writers, composers, etc.) for the sole purpose of making make money all I can say to you is "SHAME ON YOU!".

    Thank you CNN for bringing this wonderful piece to your viewers.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  14. Tom

    Wow...what a smart kid. I was really impressed with Jonathan. Only wish more adults were that smart!!

    September 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  15. Philip Flaherty

    I live in southeast Massachusetts. While at the local auto repair garage, I heard one of the 10 or so men there use the N word.
    I called him on it, he left and later the other men thanked me because it made them uncomfortabe as well. I said "don't thank me... speak up".
    All white men afraid to disicpline their friends for bad behavior.
    If each of us do not allow it. I regard it's use an assault on all who hear it. It is 2009 for crying out loud.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  16. Lorraine Kirk

    I was utterly astounded at the maturity and compassion of this remarkable young boy who just turned 11 y.o. If his words don`t set us to deeply think of the impact "words" have, then I wonder what will. His intelligence goes so way beyond his years, that it is almost scary, but, at the same time extremely hopeful and encouraging.
    Thank you,
    Lorraine B. kirk

    September 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  17. Becky

    Good on you Jonathan.
    I am a white female living in the Fl. Keys and deal with great diversity in our community – further I was raised in a family from the South. I agree the acceptance of the "N" word is unacceptable and should be banned in entertainment along with other FOUL language. We have enough on our plate and do not need any more negatives and should seek the best of all of our neighbors and especially ourselves.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  18. djtimid

    That kid is a rockstar. I don't think that you can stop anybody from using a particular word, but bringing that to the forefront of the public's mind might open peoples' eyes. It's like using the "B" word to describe women, which is also derogatory. Are we all schoolkids on the playground...calling each other names? Grow up. There is no use for stuff like that.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Prof. Bob SJSU

    Bravo CNN for bringing us this inspirational young man...short on age but very wise in spirit. Rap artists listen up! You can NOT change the history or purpose of the N-word. No amount of creative energy or lyrics can wipe away the torment, pain, disgrace and evil of that word.
    If you don't plan to name your kids Hitler, then I suggest you learn once and for all the use of the N-word by ANYONE is a sure and clear sign of naive thinking or just down right ignorance. As a proud black man I ask my brothers and sisters to stop degrading themselves by using this word thinking it's o.k. Everyone one else, young and old, hip whites and other cultures, you dishonor yourselves and embarrass the human race by uttering this word any time for any reason.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  20. Melissa

    I am officially weeping in my apartment. What an amazing young man!!! You tube has the entire speech and it is flooring. Pass it on people.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  21. Dennis Stock

    Jonathan McCoy breaks my heart with his sweet intelligence. He should be brought to the attention of Ted Turner, with the hope that his education through college would be financially guaranteed. Maybe one day, we will have the joy of seeing Jonathan as president. May he be surrounded by angels, so his spirit will prevail. Dennis Stock

    September 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  22. Susan Wyatt

    Oh, my goodness! Thank you, Jonathan! You bright young man! I enjoyed this segment with you and Don Lemon very much! As a young child I was taught never to use or excuse that "N" word! As a teacher (now retired) I didn't tolerate that word in my classroom, even though there were teens that did use the word to their friends, as a "greeting." In my estimation that word should nt be used by ANYONE, whether as a greeting or in entertainment today.
    As Jonathan indicated, it's a very negative word that is the antithesis of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks and others in the Civil Rights movement stood for...and who have given their lives and tried to teach us non-violence, and non-bigotry.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  23. Kam J

    It's funny usually, when there is an incident in the news where some white person has said the n-word there's usually a flood of comments from white people saying "If THEY can say the word, why can't WE?" or "Well THEY use it all the time." Yet how come people are so dismissive of this little kid's efforts?

    As to those who say using it takes away some of the stigma, that is completely false. If it were true, then any entertainer/politician/public figure could say the n-word and not experience any negative consequences and we know this is not true. It still rankles.

    I don't use it and hate to hear it and I'm Black. Many Black people do not like it yet our voices are drowned out by the overwhelming power of the media and the people who continue to indirectly support its use by buying media that contain these words.

    We can't "ban" the word through legal ways because of freedom of speech (and rightly so) but we can encourage people to stop using it. If you have children that continue to buy and support media with this word ask them why? And take control.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  24. LJ

    Your interview with Jonathan was awe-inspiring. He is obviously an intelligent young man who has spent a lot of time formulating his words. When any of us put ourselves down because of our ethnicity, religion, etc. (even if we call it "entertainment" or a joke....), we are giving permission for others to demean us.

    Jonathan...."thank you for bring people together". I wish that you had been a member of my classroom community when I was a teacher. It would have been a honor.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  25. SlowIdle

    We should abolish the NAACP word instead along with all the other racist organizations. We have laws to protect minorities. These organizations pepetuate their existence by making sure racism continues to be a problem.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  26. AG Jenkins

    While young Jonathan's desires are in the right place- who wouldn't wish we could all just speak kindly to each other – but his understanding of liberty is (appropriately) naive. As H.L. Mencken once said, " the problem with fighting for liberty is you spend most of your time defending scoundrels; for it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed." It is sad that this child's first response is to automatically relinquish more power to the central government and curtail some of our free speech. We should not rely on the government for any social reshaping or control as this is not the governments legitimate sphere (see Article I Section VIII of the U.S. Constitution for the legitimate powers of our government). So while we may applaud McCoy's intentions, we need to reshape the way we think about changing our country. It is not legitimate to legislate man's appetites.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  27. Matt Smick

    How do you ban a word?

    September 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  28. Gary McNew

    What an eloquent speaking young man! Regardless of ethnicity or topic of concern, our world needs to hear more of these young people who are mature beyond their years in their conduct and beliefs. Perhaps a new media program could bring us more of these incredible young marvels.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  29. Citizen

    I agree with slowIdle... the NAACP which constantly plays the raced card and perpetuates racism should be banned.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  30. Nello

    If we start abolishing word because they offend people where would it stop?

    September 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  31. René Balowa

    It's amazing to hear a 11 year old boy articulate words like Jonathan. I was very impressed. If this boy can be used to spread the messages.
    The education must start with the black people. This word is more often used by them.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  32. dv

    Ok i get it its cute. But its a word that means dumb and ignorant. Racist groups turned it into what it is so how about banning the groups instead of the word. If you ban this word you might as well ban every other derogatory word used to describe any race. Just ban the groups that influence this behavior and the words will (hopefully) eventually fade back into the unnoticed among the english dictionary.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  33. Jerome S

    The invested interest of this young man is commendable. However, those who are in serious support of such a legislation, are putting themselves in a very ignorant position. When you allow, or attempt to allow the government to dictate social behavior, we then allow ourselves to be subject to an even more corrupt and powerful government. This question is an issue of freedom of speech. If this is hindered, then it is very possible for all of these past liberties to be ignored and discarded. While Mr McCoy's interests are wonderful, its important that he be educated on out governmental system.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  34. Nico

    Hey, lets just abolish the NAACP(and all other minority groups) and stop thinking of people as "minorities" and start thinking of everyone as equals.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  35. Bobbi

    I just saw this young gentleman on CNN while at the gym.
    He is an inspiration for all. I was totally amazed at how articulate he is.
    He is so correct in saying that this word should die. It floors me that rappers and some of color think nothing of using it.
    It takes a child to show the way sometimes. Then again, he is really more grown-up than many adults.
    Kudos to you Johnathan McCoy.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  36. A College Student

    thank you matt someone else who understands

    September 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  37. Travis

    Well Socially that word pretty much is banned... But yet Rap/Hip-Hop songs use the word and other variations of the word. I believe no word should be legally banned .. but I also belive that that word should NOT be used...At all. and yes it's a part of History and we can't forget our history!

    September 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  38. Travis

    In Regards to A College Student... I could not agree more! I think you said it best!

    September 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  39. Matt Smick

    haha! I just finished listening to my Jay-Z CD. If the "n" word is banned then his career goes down the toilet.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  40. Erik

    Thank you Don Lemon for having Jonathan on your show. You are both positive role models for the rest of us, and this segment was yet another reason why you have become my one of my favorite personalities on CNN.

    As for labels meant to insult based on race, sexual orientation, etc., they are boring and uncool.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  41. Dant'e

    Why is CNN so surprised that a black child can be "astute"? That, in itself, sounds racist to me. They wouldn't say that if the child was white.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  42. nowhereman

    He seems to think that banning certain words is going to signal an education in america, but its the words that you use, not the words you don't use that show what you know. I'm very VERY offended by the use of the word jesus, as though we've proven that this jesus person really existed. But we havent. Does that mean I have the right to make the word Jesus illegal? NO! Whenever someone says there ought to be a law, usually, there oughtn't be a law. When you say someone can't do somethin for moral, or asthetic reasons, then thats pushing your values on them. Sorry. I don't use the "N" word ever...But i'm not going to come into YOUR home, and tell you that YOU can't use it. does the comfort of the individual take president over the minority?...YES! It is the cornerstone of our constitution, AND the american way of life. DFO NOT BAN ANY WORD EVER FOR ANY REASON... It makes way for people to start controlling your life.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  43. Roger

    Can't ban words.

    Can't ban thoughts.

    Can't ban hate.

    This teachers of this young man should be ashamed of his not being aware of the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  44. Del Layne

    I watched this young man in amazement. He has the ability to make a lot of changes in this world this he is just getting started.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  45. Rick

    If they ban the use of the " N " word then the blacks can't call the white folks any of their derogitory names either. Ever since Obama was elected there has been a huge surge in black rights cry and people are falling for this garbage. Slavery has been obolished over 100 yrs ago, get over it already, stop using it as a crutch. Why is it the blacks can have a black history month but if the white people were to ask for one we would be considered racist? America has become a country full of double standards and has completely turned it's back on the constitution. If the black people don't like the way things are in this country, then go back to Africa then. No one is forcing you to stay here.

    September 30, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  46. michael

    I am an old white guy, I live in Baton Rouge. I hate the word no matter who says it. Its use is a big part of the ugly legacy of racism that is still way too big a part of society in our country. Every time this word is used, or for that matter many other derogatory terms for people of different nationalities, religions, or races, we condone the legacy. Even if it's just a little joke or whatever. All of that is wrong and so sad. You go Jonathan! Very wise and brave for so young.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  47. David

    If it had been a white kid that said this would he still be considered a genius? What a bunch of libtards.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  48. billybob

    abolishing the "nword" is meaningless, as the behavior and the people who inspired the word will remain, only prompting the birth of a new word that will adequately convey the contempt that is generated by the "nwords". gee, the new word might just be "nword", as in "the nwords are destroying the schools"

    October 1, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  49. Death Poet

    OK, it is cute, but you people do realize that black people use the "N-word" more than anybody, right? They want to point the blame of the N-Word at whites, but the truth is most whites feel awkward about using the word, but blacks use it seemingly as much as possible. Screw this, I've bought the right to use the n-word. Blacks, which make up 13% of the population, take up over 40% of welfare. Last year, 40% of my taxes was about $7,000.00. That's enough to let me use the N-word as much as I please. I've bought the right to use the n-word.

    October 1, 2009 at 3:00 am |
  50. Kufukahn

    What a huge waste of time. Ban a word? Only weak minded people allow a word to rule their lives. This is still the USA, If you wish to live in a country where words are banned, go start your own. What's next? Thought crimes? Some other obsessed individual will want to control your thoughts? Wake up people! It's time to take back our country, not surrender it to mindless drivel like this.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:23 am |
  51. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Look its just a word it has no bullets its only offencive in your minds all it is is a sling for NIGRO why dont we just go ahead and ban the whole history book to please one culthure.

    October 1, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  52. Ant Lee

    @Death Poet- Would you mind giving me your source for those statistics? Because last I heard, more welfare goes to whites. Yes blacks may have a higher percentage of their population on welfare, but for actual dollar value, more welfare money goes to whites. And that is by no means an attempt to start a racial flame war...

    @Mike Armstrong- This is one naive boy's idea. Not a whole culture's. I'm a black man and the use of the n-word by anyone of any race in any context is the last thing on my mind. It's definitely not to please a whole culture....

    October 1, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  53. JP

    This kid has probably made the top of the hit list for the 'gangstas' of Chicago.

    The use of the N-word is the centerpiece of black-on-black violence and the divergence of the black communities, one of sex and drugs versus the other of faith and education.

    October 1, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  54. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Ant Lee I am a white man and allowing children to ingage in racial hatred is not a good thing white or black or pink or brown or any color the hateful upbringing is wrong for Americas quest.

    October 1, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  55. Ruth will

    Good Luck to Don, he seems like a great kid with Lots and Lots of
    potential. His biggest problem to over come the N word will be with in
    his own Black culture, which I'm sure he understands? Since I rarely
    hear this word used anymore except by Black people themselves, or
    by white's in Jest. The word is even used now affectionally between
    blacks, and whites to blacks etc. As in the Movie" Pulp Fiction" It is a
    reminder of the constant change, and evolution of our language and our
    culture period. Being
    italian, I foggaly , remember the term WOP (meaning With Out Papers)
    also being a deragetory slight, but now like wet back ,my grandson is
    one and jokes about it openly, seems silly now. Its only deragetory if
    we continue to view it that way??

    October 1, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  56. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Kudos Ruth Will great comment.

    October 1, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  57. Ruth will

    Does anyone remember the old cliche" Sticks and stones can breaks my bones but words can never hurt me" Well its unfortunate but the n word
    still hurts some people??

    October 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  58. Kerie

    Oh my goodness! What an intelligent little man he is! I am in total agreement. There are those who say that they've reclaimed the power by using the 'n' word themselves but they make it clear that whites and other non-blacks cannot. That shatters their reasoning because if the power were truly taken back, everyone would be able to use it without causing pain to black folks. There is hypocracy there.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  59. Chris

    End all racism from all sides (including the black side) and words such as this will be used less. We all know, however, that there are and always will be words used by EVERYONE to describe people yet offend those being described. The n-word was NEVER meant for ALL black people, but for those who were often seen as lazy, uneducated, and untrustworthy. Get rid of those types of people (of color) and the word will be practically disappear.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  60. Darian

    Hmm .. son, you're a good man in that you have some fighting spirit. But it's a long path to wisdom which makes a man truly worth being in the end.
    The N word, and I'll be kind here, is such a poor rational for a campaign against the white race. Not that we're unworthy of such attention. We've failed, each other, more than a few times since "we" ( Most of us aren't truly or wholly white. You've got to grasp at straws while you're reading the history books on this topic. ) You're included in that failure as were you're ancestors who've come before you and your parents. These failures wil not end and neither will the N word's droning swan song while you watch and laugh aloud to your dying days. That's not to say you'll agree with me that your fight against said word should be uplifted to a higher state of wonder, the state of not being able to be affected by such things as anyone will say to you that will take you off track of being a terrific spokesman and a sound mind. Keep trucking with that, though, and see where it ends. I'll be here watching and listening for you to reappear again. Good wishes for us both. Amen

    October 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  61. rhope

    Multiple Choice.

    How did this child learn this"word"

    a) His parents
    b) friends
    c) music
    d) a racist

    October 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  62. southerner

    just like the confederate flag, the n i g g e r word will not disappear. and the more attention given to its existence and the perceived need to eliminate it, the less likely that will happen.

    one significant cause is the media, which continues to harp on stuff that dates back 100 years or more. slavery............the wilmington riot of 1898...........jim crow..............kkk.................etc etc etc. sensationalism sells papers and bolsters ratings.

    i suggest a more moderate approach............shhhhhhhhhh..........keep quiet............dont talk about it...............not avoidance, just being mute. we all might be surprised at how much success could be achieved.

    versus the media that plays on everyone's emotions........and continues to stir the fire..........

    October 1, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  63. Carol

    He's got my vote! I hope I'm around long enough to watch him take Washington by storm! What an amazing, delightful child.

    October 2, 2009 at 6:33 am |
  64. Tracy

    You go Jonathan! I don't like that word AT ALL! Keep it up as we need more people like you!

    October 2, 2009 at 7:09 am |
  65. Melanah Poole

    When I was in the third grade, I was called the "N" word by one of my classmates. When I asked my mother what it meant and she told me, I was hurt. Shortly after, our family moved to North Dakota. The majority of my peers were Caucasian, and I was African-American. Even though not everyone accepted my family into the majority-white neighborhood, no one ever called me a "N" to my face because they knew how dirogatory it was. I recently started my freshman year of college at Alabama State University. Being in the South now, I've heard people call each other the "N" word so many times, you would think it was somebody's name. I'm so proud of Jonathan for taking a stand against ignorance. There are more productive vocabulary words available. Many people are going to fight this, saying it is violating free speech or something, but I have no problems banning the word. It just isn't neccessary.

    October 2, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  66. White Devil

    Yeah great! But what about First Amendment? Thought criminals just like they used to have in USSR?

    October 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  67. Kyle

    I think CNN has a new corespondent. That was great. You should keep bringing him back.

    October 3, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  68. Tracey - Boston

    What a GREAT little man he is!!!

    October 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  69. Lucy Marue Meadows

    Black folk say the N word more than anyone else.

    October 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  70. Sue

    I'll support banning the n-word. Now how about they support banning the f-word?

    October 3, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  71. Elinor Bowles

    Young Jonathan should be a source of pride not only for his parents but for all Americans, particularly those of us who identify as African Americans. I am happy to sign his petition. Whatever the outcome of his campaign, I look forward to following Jonathan's path. He is an amazing, brilliant, poised person with brilliant things ahead. A leader. We need him!

    October 3, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  72. Tara

    I really respect the kid for standing up again the "N" word and all, but it's
    just that many have been using this word for a while and someone says
    something about it NOW?! When I saw the video he made I was amazed
    how he described his feelings of the issue, but when I saw the interview
    I knew he was reading a teleprompter, and really with the education they
    gives kids now-a-days it's a little hard to believe he used such grammar.
    I'm up for the stop of the "N" word, but does it really take an 11 year old kid to catch our attention or the fact that some of us don't really care?

    October 3, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  73. Rex Mullen

    The gentleman from the South Side of Chicago who wrote a book still has a chip on his shoulder and still thinks some great magician needs to fix Chicago. Victor Woods has got to take personal responsiblilty for his past and his future the same as the parents and the kids in Chicago need to. The black communities' leaders desire to blame their problems on the system is old and not valid. My son teaches in West Chicago and the only thing that he has found that works is to not let the kid back in class until the parent shows up at a confrence. Even rough kids are afraid of the rath of their parents and the parents need to have the kids marked present in school to get their full welfair check. Both the kid and the parent need to take responsibility for themselves. Society needs to reward people who have the guts to try and straighten this out. The teachers can not do it with out the parents and students wanting to improve their personal lives. By the way my son is from an affluent Ohio sub-berb and his predacessor at this school lasted a month or so and called in sick and never returned to the class. My son is completing his third year. He has established a band, a choir as well as a general music program and is head of the arts department and teaches new teachers how to cope with the school and its problems. The problem that he does not know how to solve is the parents are druggies who don't care because they are not straight enough and kids that just show up to school enough to get the max wefare check. They are not their enough to really learn. On a smaller scale they have the same problems in Florida. The best resolution is to get the parents involved whether they want to or not. People like Victor woods can be a great asset but they need to put a lot of pressure on the neglegent parents to get off their dead asses and care about their kids.

    October 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  74. Bill Kraig

    What the kid is doing is commendable, but just proscribing the N word won't do much to improve the lives of African-Americans in the long term as fighting inner city poverty, or changing the racist attitudes of our white-dominated culture would. You know, I read an article in a Newsweek from the 60's that cited the statistic of 70% of blacks in the D.C. area being poor, and in the 1980s 70% of blacks were still within the poverty line.

    October 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  75. American Mother

    It was beautiful to see young Jonathans conviction in what he believes is right.
    I know it's crazy, but perhaps by putting the focus on the good, developing self respect and a better general moral code, that this could grow, until it almost became the only place to go.

    I think the solution may, funnily enough, be about values.
    And funnily enough, values – although priceless – are actually free. Everyone and anyone can have them just by wanting them.
    Appreciation, gratefulness, kindness, respect, helpfulness, work, responsibility – these are little things that can make ones life better in a big way.

    October 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  76. Vince Calcagno


    He is a future leader....OMG!! How smart is he???!!!

    October 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  77. bwvbarb

    I think this young brother is on to something that some older brothers and sisters will never ever grasp. It's time to be done with the old way of expessing our "blackness" and just be "human beings". Well done. You are a breath of fresh air!!!!!

    October 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  78. Jason

    For those of you who are posting comments speaking to the fact that you cannot banish hatred, words, etc., you are correct. True as you may be, though, abolishing the "N" word from the English dictionary (and specifically targeting media sources) could severely reduce the use of it. The "N" word is a derogatory term and all attempts to get rid of it should be taken quite seriously.

    Keep up the good work, Jonathan McCoy. Determination and hard work are the best ways to reach your goal.

    I will try to aid you with what is within my ability.

    Do not give up, Jonathan.

    October 3, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  79. Jacen Wayne

    A ban on any word, no matter how detestable, is a violation of free speech. The "taking back the word" strategy is a far more realistic solution within the population.

    October 3, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  80. Lori Jean

    ‘Out of the mouths of babes’, we hear a very bright, moral grounded child take it upon himself to abolish a word that denotes negativity in any situation.

    I wholeheartedly support his petition and thank CNN for extending a platform for this exceptional child. .

    October 4, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  81. Pat

    Good Grief! I can't believe the comments here from those who see 'government involvement' and 'Free Speech' in jeopardy in Johathan's call to stop using this word. ! Please go directly to 'You Tube' and hear this intelligent child's entire speech! He was speaking to his own African American community......rappers
    ........entertainers.....and those who habitually use this destructive and demeaning term in everyday speech.

    Gooooooo Johathan! I hope your words are HEARD......and acted upon!

    October 4, 2009 at 3:31 am |
  82. Dana

    Great Job! Young McCoy, this term has been allowed to be a part of the Cancer that has plagued generations to belittle and derespect. Our exceptance of the N word has led us into a lack of self respect and dignity. The word is not a part of Balck History , however it was used to down play black history. When used by Black people or anyone it reminds us the we have fallen short of giving our ancestors the respect they are due. Anytime we are corrected there will be backlash, even from a young child. I hope that this young man knows that he is a breath of fresh air and not to let anyone turn him around. For the world may seem right unto a man but in the end is death. The end word is an enslavement of the mind and death can come to one's mindset to the point they will justify almost anything. Be strong and continue your petition. We will start one in my surrounding counties in your name.

    October 4, 2009 at 5:12 am |
  83. stacie

    to abolish it all together would be great no-one saying..but im sorry if as a white American if you don't want me saying it i don't wanna hear it out of anyone's mouth including black people. i have to say im proud of this young boy who is smart enough to see that EVERYONE needs to stop using it in order to get the respect that African American want and deserve.

    October 4, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  84. Deon Talley

    This young man has really seen the light. I wish that more of our Black BROTHERS and SISTERS will open there eyes and see the light as well. We need to teach our children to respect themselves and our race. God bless you young man. Continue to help change this world.

    October 4, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  85. Newoka LaShelle

    Personally, this is a young man who shows great potential in many aspects. I have had the pleasure to speak with Jonathan and his family. That experience gives me hope knowing this young man is our future like many other intelligent youth. Jonathan E. McCoy will reach far and beyond expectations. Happy belated birthday and many more!!!

    Best regards,

    October 5, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  86. Chris

    Why are people proud of what he's trying to do? He's trying to restrict your Freedom of Speech by banning a word that's a solid, though negative, part of this country's history. I personally don't use the word, but I don't care that others do. It's considered racist because people get offended by it. Just let it go. It's a word. Sticks and stones folks, sticks and stones. I commend him for his efforts, because not many people are willing to take such a firm stand on what they believe in, but he's not going to succeed. Racists will continue to use the word because they know they will continue to get a reaction out of it. Rappers and the general "thug" community will continue to use it because it's become a representation of their culture. Do I agree with that? No. But it's a sad fact that this word is, and forever will be, a part of American history and the culture of Black Americans. It would be nice to see a word as "bad" as this one go back to being used properly, but it's just not going to happen.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  87. alex

    He's 11. I bet half of you wouldn't give a damn if he was a white 50-year-old woman.

    October 6, 2009 at 6:32 am |
  88. Larry

    This is just stupid. Why are we empowering this word. It is just a word.

    October 12, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  89. Nature Girl

    I am happy to see that this young man is taking a stand for what he believes at such a young age. As the the saying goes if we stand for nothing we will fall for everything. It is a concern that our vocabulary should include such words...and he is right even if you say it with a smile or frown the meaning doesn't change.
    I hope he achieves his goal. Keep pressing on Jonathan you are destined for great things.

    October 12, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  90. MBell

    The "n word" in past history has brought on a lot of pain in past history. I believe the word should not be used at all, but I also feel that it will not go away. The word has a lot of power and hate behind it to older generations. To the upcoming generation, though we know the history of the word, we feel that the difference in spelling takes away all the negativity the word once held. I feel that future generations should be educated on the word, and given a choice to use it or not, after all, it is just a word. The popular saying applies to this situation, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," or will they?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:23 am |
  91. Mr Pink

    Either ban the damn word or allow *everyone* to use it.

    October 19, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  92. Michael McConnell

    Oh brother. All this is, is an attempt to further ban free speech. What word is next? I'm sure it won't be an anti-white slur.

    October 25, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  93. AG

    There is plenty of offensive speech that is used by everybody, everyday, everywhere. There are so many words that are offensive to so many people that it is impossible to keep track of what is considered taboo.
    This is the United States of America, people!
    We have a little something called "freedom of speech"! No matter how offensive a word is to anybody you CANNOT just BAN a word! Where will it end?
    Ban this word. How about banning "illegal alien"? The word "fat"? It can go on and on and on. Please don't tell me that the "N-WORD" is special or more offensive than any other word. It does not matter. Free speech is protected. If certain speech or a certain word isn't offensive or controversial it does not need protection.
    This kid and everybody else talks about "civil rights" so much without even bothering to realize that the American right to free speech is one of those protected civil rights that we, as Americans, hold so precious.
    Again, this is The United States of America. What makes this country so wonderful is that we Americans have these rights. The right to say what we want, as ugly or offensive or controversial as people might feel it is. Do you want to start throwing people in prison reeducation camps if they say something that hurts someone's feelings?
    If so, Communism is alive and well in Cuba.
    May I suggest you all pack it up and move there?

    October 26, 2009 at 3:39 am |